Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D.

Fresh, home-grown vegetables are becoming more plentiful in counties across Alabama and Mississippi with the expansion of a program designed to increase healthy food options and provide more opportunities for physical activity. The introduction of the Harvest for Health initiative signifies a major step for participants in the ongoing Chronic Disease & Health Disparities Program at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.

25 Years of Outreach & Engagement at the O'Neal Cancer Center

The Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB continues its 25th anniversary event series on May 25 with a virtual conversation on community outreach in Latino, Latina and Latinx communities with Isabel Scarinci, Ph.D., MPH.

Joanice Thompson

Joanice Thompson didn’t have a manual or a textbook about community outreach, engagement or research recruitment when she arrived at UAB more than 30 years ago.

Yet, by the time she retired in 2018, Thompson had become a sought-after authority on community engagement and on ensuring that community-based research translates into opportunities and improvements for those communities.

Isabel Scarinci, Ph.D., MPH

The list of projects, accomplishments and ongoing research led by Isabel Scarinci, Ph.D., MPH, runs pages long and carries worldwide significance. Yet, as a professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine and the senior advisor for Globalization & Cancer at the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, Scarinci remains unsatisfied until one specific goal is reached: eliminating cervical cancer as a public health problem.

Jean Hernandez and Vanessa Vargas

Throughout its 25 years, the Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB has relied on community partners to form strategies that reach previously overlooked groups. Two of the newest members of the Community Advisory Board, Vanessa Vargas and Jean Hernandez, are serving as guides to help address health disparities among Alabama’s Latino, Latina and Latinx populations.

Mona N. Fouad, M.D., MPH

Before there were grants or formalized agreements, Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, recalls burgeoning community relationships and a shared vision to tackle major health inequities in some of the state’s most challenged communities.

Fouad remembers the earliest days of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement 25 years ago. Fouad and former O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Edward Partridge, M.D., were co-leaders on cancer control programs designed to address the dramatic disparity in cancer mortality rates

Sonja Johnson

Sonja Johnson is always looking to take one extra step toward better health and an improved quality of life.

And when Johnson says “keep it moving,” she means it literally.

“I’m not going to stop,” Johnson said. “My goal is 10,000 steps every day.”

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama today announced an investment of $1.05 million in Alabama-based breast cancer research, bringing the organization’s total impact over 25 years to nearly $11 million. Matching their 2019 investment, the organization will support 14 research projects throughout the state, including studies at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Auburn University, Cerflux, Mitchell Cancer Institute at University of South Alabama, Tuskegee University and Southern Research.

The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center recently awarded eight projects a total of $1.2 million in research grants through its new program, O’Neal Invests. The O’Neal Invests program funds UAB investigators initiating new cancer-related projects to do key, preliminary work in order to enable competitive R01 applications.

SCREENINGIn this archive photo from 2002, Claudia Hardy, Angela Williams and the late Velma Harris use a model to lead a demonstration on breast self-exams during CHA training at the North Birmingham Library.

In two decades, the Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB has trained more than 2,000 Community Heath Advisors. Countless lives have been impacted by the work of these Community Health Advisors, or CHAs, who provide a link to essential health education and awareness in communities most in need of access.